Hull City vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Can Aitor Karanka's side build some momentum by reaching FA Cup fifth round?

Nottingham Forest will be looking to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup as they take on Hull City at The KCOM Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Hull City vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Can Aitor Karanka's side build some momentum by reaching FA Cup fifth round?
Hull City vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Can Aitor Karanka's side build some momentum by reaching FA Cup fifth round? (picture: Getty Images / Jan Kruger)

Nottingham Forest will be looking to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup as they take on Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Nigel Adkins' side suffered a very disappointing 1-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Sunderland last time out in The Championship at the Stadium of Light. Joel Asoro's first senior goal was enough to secure the Black Cats all three points in a crucial encounter. 

As for Forest, Aitor Karanka sealed his first win since becoming manager of the club with a very impressive 2-0 victory over league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Reds will be looking to build on this win on Saturday afternoon.

How they've fared so far

It is fair to say that it has been a season of turmoil both on and off the pitch at Hull so far this season. Mass protests against owner Assem Allam have created a toxic atmosphere around the club and this has contributed to poor performances and results so far this season.

The Tigers began the season under the management of Leonid Slutsky but he was dismissed by the club's hierarchy by mutual consent in December following a 2-2 draw away at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday. This result left the club just three points above the relegation zone but many supporters felt sympathetic towards Slutsky due to the lack of backing he had in the summer transfer market.  

However, results have not improved since Slutsky's departure from the club. The club felt that Nigel Adkins was the man to steer the club away from danger and turn results around but this has so far turned out not to be the case. The Tigers now find themselves in even more danger and are now sat just outside the relegation places on goal difference alone. 

It will be interesting to see how seriously Adkins is willing to take the FA Cup considering Hull's position in the league. There is no doubt that avoiding the drop into League One is the main priority for the Tigers this season but a cup run could be a welcome distraction for everybody involved. 

As for Forest, they also opted to dismiss manager Mark Warburton over the Christmas period and replaced him with former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka. The Spaniard did lose his first game in charge as play-off hopefuls Aston Villa claimed a 1-0 win at The City Ground. However, he did secure his first win as Forest boss last weekend with a very impressive 2-0 victory at Wolves. 

This victory came as a shock to many but highlighted the potential that Forest's young squad has got. The Reds have struggled to keep a clean sheet in majority of games so far this season so Karanka's ability to get them organised enough to keep one away at the league leaders in such a short period of time was very impressive. Forest supporters will certainly be hoping that he is the man who can lead them back to the Premier League

However, the Reds are currently sat 11 points off the play-off places meaning that any promotion push this season looks unlikely. This means that it is likely that Karanka will take the FA Cup very seriously with the Reds in a fairly comfortable position in the league table. The 4-2 win against Arsenal in the third round proved that Forest have the ability to beat anyone in this competition and that should give them a lot of confidence going forward. 

Last time they met 

The Tigers last played Forest in a 3-2 defeat in the Championship at the KCOM Stadium in October. A hat-trick from Forest midfielder Kieran Dowell who is on a season-long loan from Everton was enough to secure the three points. The match was interrupted by home supporters throwing tennis balls onto the pitch in protest against the club's ownership. 

Kieran Dowell has been in fine form for Forest this season. (picture: Getty Images / Laurence Griffiths)
Kieran Dowell has been in fine form for Forest this season. (picture: Getty Images / Laurence Griffiths)

Team news 

Hull striker Will Keane could be named in the starting line-up for this one as he continues to regain his full fitness after suffering from a long-term knee injury. Adkins has also confirmed that David Marshall will definitely start in goal against Forest after keeping a clean sheet in the previous round against Blackburn Rovers

As for Forest, they will again be unable to select striker Daryl Murphy as he remains out through injury meaning that Ben Brereton is likely to lead the line as he has done effectively in recent weeks. Liam Bridcutt will be unavailable for selection as he serves out the first game of his two-match suspension as he picked up his tenth booking of the season in the win against Wolves last weekend.